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Hello, Adelle. So happy you made it from the other side.

It was the BEST of times. It was the WORST of times. Who was I in high school? Let me begin with explaining the idea that this journey has not been completed. High school continues to be a present tense, and with graduation coming this June, I could not be happier to say “see ya later” to the town that raised me. Despite this, after four and a half years, I feel confident in reflecting on my time in the hallowed (usually pungent) halls of Kindersley Composite School. My high school experience cannot be confined to a single thought, and that in itself is where my teenage identity has sprouted from. It has been a roller coaster, like the kind where someone throws up on you but you would still say you generally had a good time. I entered into the Comp at the tender age of thirteen, being the oldest child and knowing absolutely nothing about surviving a high school experience. All through elementary school I was anxious and nervous, and although I battled well in my younger years and eventually found my groove, high school was a new playing field. I could no longer wear and do what I wanted, for my own fear of being rejected and ultimately looked down upon. I am a good observer though, I did what the others did and it helped me blend. If KCS was a face and I perhaps the bronzer, I used every ounce of strength to blend the lines between myself and the rest to make sure I did not stand out. I was heavily involved in school activities, and even made the competitive junior volleyball team! Although I was always nervous people would find out I was secretly not as cool or good or funny as they thought I was, I kept up the persona. I even became the persona, so much so that when the persona was challenged, I didn’t know what to fall back on. My cheerful disposition got me far. In grade nine, I won one of the most prestigious awards the school could offer me that honour a late staff member. I truly believed that I could keep all of this together. I had two jobs, countless meetings and began to become competitive in voice. I went so far to control my life that I ended up losing 45-50 pounds from cutting essentials out of my diet. One day, it all ended. I remember the day perfectly, as I had my first full scale panic attack and genuinely thought I was dying. It had all become too much, and I couldn’t do it anymore. Grades 10 and 11 were two of the hardest of my life, even surviving a period where I did not think I could continue to live. I have seen countless doctor, psychiatrists, counsellors, that diagnosed me with Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Unable to do what I had before, I didn’t know who I was. I had the same talents, but when I could not access them, who was I? Who am I? Although I am less sure than I once was, I now know who my high school self is and was. What was I like in high school? I was Adelle: the sister, singer, smart and brave survivor, who can now say that high school was all about finding all of that out.

-Adelle Sawatzky

 

** Editors Note

The format in which this post was sent to me wasn’t able to convert to only 30 lines in the website format. It is, originally, 30 lines. Not that you were counting.

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